Fatboy Chapter One

I know, I know, it’s been over a month now but I’m still talking about Fatboy. What can I say, I’m proud of it, same way I’m proud of everything else I’ve written. Anyway, what I figured I’d do this post was share a little more of the story, beyond reviews (though you’ll find a few of them at the very bottom) and blurbs and descriptions of the writing process. So, scroll down a little more, past the Amazon link, and you’ll find Fatboy’s first chapter! And if you enjoy that, and wanna see what happens next, what becomes of Joey Hidalgo and his estranged family, then scroll back up here and click the link below. It’s available in print and e-book – options, man, options.

Chapter One

Joey Hidalgo had been drinking for three days. He’d
hopped from bar to bar and when they closed he went to
the twenty-four hour liquor store, bought some bottles or
a six-pack or whatever they had, and took them home.
The bar he found himself in was as miserable as all the
others he’d visited since the start of his bender. Grimy, too.
He sat at the counter and tried to avoid his reflection in
the mirror opposite. He looked down, picked at the scabs
on his knuckles. The evidence of the beers he’d drunk
stood before him. He wouldn’t let the bartender take them
away. Seven dead soldiers, like he was keeping a tally. He
was working on the eighth.
He thought about Billie. About Charlie. It had been a
week since they’d left. It was like a knife to his guts. The
bars helped. Their noise made him feel better. The jukebox
in the corner played old rock ’n’ roll, and the groups
chattering around him were a low hum that dulled his
And the beer. The beer helped most of all, until it didn’t.
Until it summoned up all the morose shit he was trying
to swallow down and keep to himself. His throat would
tighten. His eyes would burn. So he’d drink another beer,
and another, and he’d keep drinking until sleep came, deep
and dreamless, and he’d wake like he hadn’t lost everything,
and if he was fast enough he could start the whole
numbing process again before realization had a chance to
sink in.
Joey squeezed the bottle. His arm shook. He clenched
his jaw until his teeth hurt. The bartender watched him.
Joey stared him down, then checked his reflection. He
wasn’t blinking. It wasn’t just his arm that shook. He
looked intense, like he was about to blow, start throwing
shit around. He let go of the bottle and took a deep breath,
relaxed his shoulders, waited until the bartender was close
enough to hear him speak.
“You get busy in here?”
The bartender looked up, surprised. “Weekends, mostly.
Weeknights are steady.”
“I do this. Bartending. That’s my job.”
“Yeah? Where at?”
“You heard of O’Donoghue’s?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I think so. Irish bar, right?”
“Not officially, but yeah, the guy owns it is Irish.”
“Where all the hookers go.”
“That’s the one.”
“The hookers and the mechanics.”
“You sound like you’ve been.”
“Nah, but I’ve heard stories.”
“Some of em are probably true.”
“The orgies on the pool table?”
Joey raised an eyebrow. “I ain’t gonna say it’s never happened,
but least not when I’ve been there.”
The bartender smirked. He was a young guy, had his hair
slicked back and his shirt sleeves rolled up to show off all
his black and white forearm tattoos.
“You look out of place in a joint like this,” Joey said. “You
look like you oughta be mixing up cocktails in one of them
big cities, like New York or LA or somewhere.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment, but I got bigger things in
mind than serving drinks all my damn life.”
“That so? You a college boy?”
“That boat passed me by. I’m taking night classes.”
“Good for you.”
“Uh-huh. What about you? You planning on tending
bar for the foreseeable?”
“Well, life’s dealt me a shitty hand lately. Some real setbacks
been sent my way. Truth be told, I just don’t know
what my plan is anymore.”
“What did the plan used to be?”
“To get out the fuckin trailer park.”
“And how’s that goin?”
“It ain’t. And I don’t think it ever will. You wanna know
somethin else?”
“I ain’t been at work in a week. Supposed ta be. Could be
I don’t even have the bar anymore.”
“You askin for a job here, that it?”
Joey shook his head. “No. No. Leaving one bar for another,
that ain’t even a step back, is it? Just a step sideways.
I don’t, I don’t know what I want.” He let go of the bottle,
held up his hands, let them fall flat on the counter while
he blew air through his lips. “Don’t know what I want anymore.
I don’t know. This ain’t making sense.”
“Not a whole lot.”
“You know what?” Joey finished his drink. “I’m gonna
leave. I know this whole routine. I hate it when it happens
to me, and no doubt you’re hating it right now. The sob
story bullshit. I ain’t gonna burden you with that.” Joey
pulled out his wallet, dropped notes on the counter. “Good
luck with your classes.”
The bartender gathered up the cash. “Good luck with
your life.”
Joey left. His truck was parked in the lot, but he took a
walk around the block first. The night air was cold on his
face and in his lungs. He breathed deep. He looked at the
moon, the stars, wished he’d brought his phone, that he
could call Billie, see if she’d answer, or if she’d ignore his
call the way he’d ignored hers.
He spotted a pay phone up ahead. A swastika spray
painted on the side of it, and a couple of ejaculating cocks.
Loose change in his pocket. He knew her number.
He decided against it. It was nostalgia talking. Calling
her would be a bad idea. They’d argue and he’d lose his
temper. Screaming down a pay phone in the middle of the
street at he didn’t even know what hour of the night wasn’t
going to resolve anything. When he got closer he saw it
was a moot point. The phone’s cord had been cut.
Footsteps behind him. They came up fast. “Hey. Hey,
Joey turned slowly, hands in his jacket pockets. Two
skinny white boys dressed like they were black came up
on him. The shorter of the two wore a big smile like he
and Joey were old friends. The taller kept his hands in his
pockets and the peak of his baseball cap pulled low so
most of his face was covered. The tall kid looked along the
road, checked for cars. None besides the ones parked. The
only vehicles in transit sounded distant.
“Where you goin, man?” The shorter one spoke. Joey had
a feeling the tall kid was the strong, silent type.
Joey ran his tongue around the inside of his mouth.
The speaker nodded. “Cool, cool. You live around here,
Joey’s eyes narrowed. “Near enough.”
“My friend here and me, we don’t live so close. It ain’t
walkin distance, anyways. We a little short on cash, too—
you could help us out with some taxi fare?”
“I’m tapped.”
The speaker raised his chin. “You sure?”
“Yeah. I’m sure.”
The taller one drew a knife. A switchblade. He waved it
through the air in front of Joey. The speaker grinned. “Give
us your wallet, motherfucker.”
Joey stood his ground. He looked at the knife cutting
figure eights. He took his hands out his pockets. His fists
were balled. He smiled. “Take it.”
The two hesitated. They glanced at each other. The
speaker recovered himself. “Don’t be a tough guy, man. Just
give us the damn wallet. You ain’t gotta get yourself hurt.”
Joey waited. They weren’t going to make a move. They
wanted to intimidate him. They wanted him to hand over
his wallet without any fuss.
“This your first time?” Joey said.
Joey moved fast.
He kicked out at the knife-wielder first, hard on the
outside of his leg, blew his knee out. The tall kid dropped
the knife and went down screaming. It was the first sound
he’d made. The leg was bent a way it wasn’t supposed to go.
The speaker looked at his fallen friend, face slack. Joey
smashed his forearm into his jaw. The speaker went down,
spat teeth. Joey loomed over him. The speaker begged off,
words issued through bloodied lips. Joey didn’t listen. He’d
heard enough. He grabbed the speaker by the front of his
shirt, used one hand to hold him and the other to hit him.
The scabs on his knuckles tore and his blood mixed with
the kid’s and painted his swelling face.
Joey stopped hitting, let him go. The kid was unconscious.
Joey didn’t know how long he’d punched him. He’d
lost himself in the moment.
The tall kid was crawling away. He’d covered a lot of
ground, slithering on his belly. He held his leg and dragged
himself along on one arm. Sounded like he was crying.
When he realized Joey was looking at him he whimpered
and tried to crawl faster. Joey picked up the fallen knife,
then went to him. The kid covered his head. Joey held up
the knife. “I’m keeping this,” he said.
The tall kid peered at him with one eye, nodded.
Joey smiled, winked. He felt better.



‘FatBoy from Paul Heatley is an unflinching noir story that works so much better than most.

Joey is down on his luck. When we first meet him, he’s been on a drinking bout that’s lasted several days. His girlfriend and mother of his young son has left him. His trailer is a mess. He has abandoned his job as a bartender. And the first chapter ends in brutal violence on Joey’s part. There’s the accusation that he has anger issues. When he is not permitted to see his year and a half old son, and his girlfriend refused to speak to him, Joey gets it in his head that his problems can be solved with money. And he knows just where to get it from – a wealthy, overweight customer of his who has made racist comments toward Joey for years.

A friend of his, a prostitute who works at the bar, goes in with Joey on the heist. Everything that can go wrong goes horribly wrong.

Paul Heatley delivers a brutal, unflinching, noir masterpiece that can be read and enjoyed in one sitting in FatBoy. Don’t miss it!’


The big plan. The one that is going to fix everything for Joey. Bring his wife and his boy back, let him quit his mindless job, and get out of the damn trailer. Everything he needs to fix where his life has spun out of control. It seems simple enough, what could possibly go wrong?

I am not going to spoil any of the plot, this story was very clever and I was pleased to see it go somewhere I had not expected. The writing is crisp and the story was very well done, the plot has some turns and thrills that will leave you breathless and waiting for the next page, a very good modern crime novel.

Everyone knows a fatboy. Something like Sheldon’s Personality Theory may suggest they should be fun-loving, sociable, and tolerant, but Heatley’s characterization is quick to show why this ridiculous theory was rejected so long ago. Money and ignorance can highlight the worst in people, regardless of body type.

The descriptions of action and setting were phenomenal, and it was great to see the build to what ended up being a great finish. The comfortable language used in the narrative and dialogue helps pull you into the story and join Joey in his quest to make things right in his life. Right for his family.

Be prepared, though, the simplest plans can sometimes run into problems. Lucky you.’

‘In an odd way, this reminded me of another slim novel, Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” That’s because what sets the tragic plot in motion is a dream that seems within reach if only enough money can be obtained. It seems simple but goes awfully wrong.

The way things go wrong in “Fatboy” is strikingly real. This is crime as it truly happens: botched. The sardonic dialogue is another big plus.’

‘Desperation. A man at the end of his rope. Life in tatters. A complete descent into the circles of hell. Check. A need for money. Check. A rather poorly planned heist with the oddest crew. Check. A hell of a final battle. Check. It’s all there. All the ingredients for gritty crime fiction. Easy to read. Hard to put down. And a long steady build up to the climax. This novelette will not disappoint.’


Back on the first of May, my newest book was released via All Due Respect, Fatboy! It’s available in print and for Kindle, but here’s a couple of images of the physical copy:

Ain’t they purdy? The cover was designed by Eric Beetner, and he’s done a HELL of a job.

I wrote the first draft of Fatboy roughly two years ago – I wrote it over sixteen late nights whilst listening to the Ministry live album ‘In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up’. I got that first draft DOWN – and then I just kind of sat on it. I moved on to other things, worked on them, time passed. I never forgot about Fatboy, I don’t forget about anything I’ve worked on. They tap away at the back of my head like impatient children, demanding I return to them at some point, show them some affection, but like I said time gets away and before you know it two years have passed and suddenly the American-set tale of a Hispanic barkeep hassled by a fat white businessman seems shockingly relevant.

So I set down to finally proof-read Fatboy. They always say you should leave your work, let it age like fine wine, return to it with fresh eyes.

Boy did it suck.

Well, not entirely, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this post right now. I made a note in my book after I’d finished reading it – ‘Dialogue = good, Exposition = shit’. I wasn’t ready to give up on it. I saw enough worth, enough promise, that I was sticking with it. Editing is my least favourite part of writing – though I recognise it as being the most necessary – I prefer to move from project to project, that’s how I feel as though I’m making progress, when I’m getting ideas and words down and getting the stories done. I’m also very aware that unless these things are getting published I’m not making any progress at all.

I stuck with it. I rewrote it over the course of another couple of weeks. I kept my note to self in mind and took the George V Higgins approach: this thing is driven by its DIALOGUE. It shows the characters for who they are, it reveals their motives, it’s the perfect way to show and not tell. When I finished it this time round, I didn’t sit on it for another two years. I read it over and over, tweaked it, got it right, I sent it to All Due Respect and the rest, as they say, is history.

Here it is, in all its glory, available to the whole entire world at just the push of a button! The reviews have been good thus far, which is vindicating. Next time I check in, maybe I’ll share some of those reviews, but hell, the Amazon link is right below, go ahead and check them out for yourself!

Also, one last thing, in other news An Eye For An Eye is also available in paperback, which means all of my works can be owned physically! If you feel like checking that out too, you’ll find it easy enough at the link below, just click on the link on my name and it’ll take you straight to my author page!



The Motel Whore & Other Stories; Guns, Drugs and Dogs – Paperbacks!

There’s a stigma around self-publishing. All writers are aware of it.

Really though, it’s no different from a musician pressing their own CD’s and selling them outside the shows.

The stigma, though, comes from the ease with which anyone can upload any old hastily written and shoddily edited ‘work’ and publish it via Amazon KDP, or whichever means of self-publication they might choose.

Two years ago, I set myself the task of releasing six novellas over the course of 2015 via KDP. The first three, The Motel Whore, The Vampire, and The Boy, are a loosely connected trilogy set in the same unnamed American town and featuring recurring characters. The latter three are all standalone works – The Mess, The Pitbull, and Three. These stories contain hitmen, heavies, and dog-fights.

I studied self-publishing for about a year before I committed to going ahead with it. I studied formatting and fonts. I read each of these six works at least ten times apiece until I stopped making changes and edits to them – and you know what? There’s probably, most likely, still a couple of overlooked mistakes in there.

The thing is, I wrote those stories and I wanted to get them out. I’ve never taken drugs, but I imagine writing is like an addiction. You grow restless, you get an itch inside your skull – you need to get stuff DONE. You want the world and you want it now. It’s about legacy, about building up a body of work you can be proud of and leaving it behind.

But you’ll never be proud of it. You’ll never be done.

The goal with these six was always to put them into print. Originally I figured I’d have to do it with Createspace, to set up a new account and get to it via them, but the time got away and then one day I’m on my KDP account and KDP are finally offering a paperback service. The time had come.

Now here they are! The Motel Whore & Other Stories features the three of the trilogy, along with two previously unpublished pieces called The Shoot and The Painter. The Shoot is based on an article I read in Bizarre magazine years ago about a photographer who would take pornographic shots of junkies while they shot up. The inspiration for The Painter came from a story I read about Marilyn Manson, how he would pay his drug dealers with oil paintings of his own creation.

Anyway, links for the paperbacks are below:

The Motel Whore & Other Stories:


Guns, Drugs, and Dogs:


Will I self-publish again? Probably not, but never say never.

The stories in their original form will remain available on Kindle, each for the super low price of 99p/99c, whilst the compilations are paperback only.

So as it stands, my body of work now consists of these six Kindle novellas, their paperback compilations, forty-three short stories, An Eye For An Eye published by Near To The Knuckle, and Fatboy which is due from All Due Respect on May 1st.



Brit Grit Alley

I had a guest column published today at Brit Grit Alley, over at Out Of The Gutter Online, link’s below if you wanna check it out:


It was something I was very excited to do when Paul Brazill contacted asking if I wanted to. I’ve always read the Brit Grit Alley. Back when I was first getting started, looking to make some kind of impact in writing, I’d wonder if the day would come I’d ever get the opportunity of my own to do a guest column, and here it is. I’m pleased to say that this is another goal accomplished.

The article is basically a brief history of my writing career to date, as well as what inspires me and what motivates me to keep going. Check it out, and I hope you enjoy it!



Reading List 2016

2016 was the first time I kept track of what I read throughout the year. I’m a fairly slow reader, but I think I got through a respectable amount. I intend to actually read less in 2017, for the simple reason that I intent to WRITE more. Already on my breaks at work, which was when I used to do most of my reading, I’ve taken to jotting in my notebook – a combination of ideas and short stories. My goal, and it’s the most important goal, is always writing. There’s a lot of great books I own and want to read, I’m desperate to read them, but I’ll just have to try and squeeze them in when and if I can. As an alternative, I plan to read a lot more short stories this year – Raymond Carver, Amy Hempel, John Cheever, Chekhov – so I’m quite excited about that.

Anyway, without any further ado, here’s the list of books, kid’s books, biographies and comics I read in 2016, in chronological order:

  1. The Demon – Hubert Selby Jr
  2. Wrestling’s 101 Strangest Matches – Oliver Hurley
  3. A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James
  4. Red Riding: 1974 – David Peace
  5. Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said – Philip K Dick
  6. The Digger’s Game – George V Higgins
  7. The Knockout Artist – Harry Crews
  8. Sarah – JT Leroy
  9. Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl
  10. Two For Texas – James Lee Burke
  11. The Gunslinger – Stephen King
  12. The Walking Dead vol 15 – Robert Kirkman
  13. As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
  14. The Hilliker Curse – James Ellroy
  15. Music For Chameleons – Truman Capote
  16. James And The Giant Peach – Roald Dahl
  17. The Devil All The Time – Donald Ray Pollock
  18. Ridgerunner – Rusty Barnes
  19. Y: The Last Man Compendium Book One – Brian K Vaughan
  20. Y: The Last Man Compendium Book Two – Brian K Vaughan
  21. Almost Transparent Blue – Ryu Murakami
  22. The Cartel – Don Winslow
  23. Savage Season – Joe R Lansdale
  24. Child Of God – Cormac McCarthy
  25. Saga Book 6 – Brian K Vaughan
  26. Miracleman: The Golden Age – Neil Gaiman
  27. The Autobiography Of Malcolm X – Malcolm X
  28. Hell’s Angels – Hunter S Thompson
  29. Bright Lights, Big City – Jay McInerney
  30. Philosophy In The Boudoir – Marquis De Sade
  31. Ghost Story – Peter Straub
  32. The Bandido Massacre – Peter Edwards
  33. A Spy In The House Of Love – Anais Nin

Currently in progress and making the transition into 2017 are Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens, and The Secret History Of Twin Peaks – Mark Frost.

Like I said, I’m a slow reader, but it’s certainly been a case of quality over quantity. The list doesn’t include any of my own stuff that I’ve read/proof-read, nor the numerous short stories I’ve read in a variety of websites and magazines.

To appease any further curiosity anyone may have, the standouts of the year were The Devil All The Time by Donald Ray Pollock, The Knockout Artist by Harry Crews, As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, and A Brief History Of Seven Killings by Marlon James. By virtue of comics being a quicker and easier read, it looks like Brian K Vaughan has been my most read writer, with both Y: The Last Man and Saga (I fucking love Saga, and if you haven’t checked it out you really should).

As for the best?


The Cartel, by Don Winslow. I read it in early summer, I’m still thinking about it now. It kept me up loooong into the night. I was reading it when I should have been writing. Perhaps it’s just because I read it more recently, but I think it was even better than its predecessor, The Power Of The Dog.

Anyway, that was my reading year. Now, back to the writing.



Year In Review 2016

It feels strange to write a year in review for 2016. I haven’t written many blogs this year, I think one of the few I did do was the year in review for 2015. I won’t claim I’ll try and blog more in 2015 because I know I won’t. I kept busy over the last twelve months, and I intend to keep as busy, or hopefully busier, in the twelve to come.

So. What have I been up to?

Well, writing-wise, and I’m only ever here to talk about writing, I’d say it’s been my best year yet. I had more short stories published in 2016 than ever before in some great publications, some new and some established – Crime Syndicate, Spelk, Near to the Knuckle etc.

Speaking of Near to the Knuckle, here’s the biggest news. My novella An Eye For An Eye, the first novella I haven’t published myself, was released by Near To The Knuckle as part of their Knuckle Cracking Novellas range.


For 2017, I intend to stay as busy. Hopefully I’ll find success with it, I’ve been pretty fortunate so far! My novel Fatboy will be released by renowned American publisher All Due Respect round May time so that’s something to look forward to, but there’s plenty to be getting on with in the meantime.

Back to work I get, these stories aren’t gonna write themselves, and I’ve got a lot planned. As Bob Dylan said, ‘I got a head full of ideas that are driving me insane’.



An Eye For An Eye Theme

Since the publication of An Eye For An Eye, every time I’ve thought of the title there’s been this guttural, growling voice at the back of my head shouting it back at me. Then I remembered – the song!

In my metalhead youth, I used to listen to Soulfly a HELL of a lot. Max Cavalera’s project after departing the seminal Sepultura, they were one of my favourite bands. Obviously, with ‘Eye For An Eye’ the song stuck in my head, I’ve been listening to it a lot again recently. It’s a part of me now, it’s stuck in there for the foreseeable. There are worse songs out there, so I don’t mind.

I hear this now, and it’s the soundtrack to the movie playing in my head, Graeme Taylor and ‘Tracksuit’ Tony Gordon tearing up the streets of Newcastle in their car, on the hunt for the hapless Daniel Moore. Yup, it’s a loud, aggressive, frenetic visual, much like the story itself!

If you haven’t already, please click the link below and, if it’s within your price range and you’re in possession of a Kindle or, like myself, a Kindle app, check it out. I won’t guarantee you’ll like it because chances are I don’t know you and I don’t know your tastes, but if you like tales that are fast-paced, violent, and full of swears (because swearing is cool, amiright??), then chances are pretty good you’ll find something to enjoy! And if my hard sell here has persuaded you, please spare me a little extra of your time and be sure to leave a review!






An Eye For An Eye

Once again, it’s been a while since I last updated, but I’ve been super-duper busy. Been working hard towards the goals I set for myself, and here’s some of the evidence of that:

My novella, ‘An Eye For An Eye’, is available now on Amazon for Kindle as part of Near To The Knuckle’s Knuckle Cracking Novellas line!

Coming in at just under 28,000 words, it’s a fast, bloody, and frequently violent read with lots of big boy language and the kind of characters you’d really like to spend a quiet Sunday afternoon with. Or not.

Speaking of the characters, most of them have appeared once before in my short story ‘The Straightener’, which was published at the Near To The Knuckle website back in November. So if you haven’t read that before, or if you have and you’re looking to reacquaint yourself with the characters, here’s the link:


It’s not vital to have read before ‘An Eye For An Eye’, but it is referenced and does give some background. Anyway, here’s the blurb!

‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

When it comes to Neil Doyle’s daughter, Gandhi had no idea.

An accident leaves Jasmine Doyle permanently disfigured, and the patriarch of one of Newcastle’s crime families goes on the warpath to find the perpetrator. He doesn’t care who gets in his way, or what he has to do to them, to get his hands on the man responsible.

Graeme Taylor and ‘Tracksuit’ Tony Gordon find themselves dragged into this brutal quest for vengeance, pushed physically and mentally to the breaking point by all that they see, and all that they are forced to do.

By the end, the streets will run with blood, and no one walks away unscarred.’

Hopefully that’s tickled your collective fancies, and if so the links for purchasing are provided below!

In the US: https://www.amazon.com/Eye-Paul-He…/…/B01IUDJBQ2/ref=sr_1_1…

And in the UK: http://ow.ly/OjSw302uyKn